The Anchorage, Grand Manan.
Palmaria palmata (L.) Kuntze, also called dulse, dillisk, dilsk or creathnach, is a red alga (Rhodophyta) previously referred to as Rhodymenia palmata (Linnaeus) Greville. It grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a well-known snack food, and in Iceland, where it is known as söl, it has been an important source of fibre throughout the centuries.
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables and it contains all trace elements needed by humans and has a high protein content.
It is commonly found from June to September and can be collected by hand when the tide is out. When collected, small snails, shell pieces and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some collectors may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. It is also used as fodder for animals in some countries.
Dulse is commonly used in Ireland, Iceland and Atlantic Canada both as food and medicine. It can be found in many health food stores or fish markets and can be ordered directly from local distributors. In Ballycastle, Northern Ireland it is traditionally sold at the Ould Lammas Fair. A variety of dulse is cultivated in Nova Scotia and marketed as Sea Parsley, sold fresh in the produce section. Dulse is shipped around the world. In Northern Ireland it is particularly popular along the Causeway Coast. Although a fast dying tradition, there are many who still gather their own dulse. Waste pipes have spoiled some sites.
Dulse can be found in some dietary supplements, where it is often referred to as "Nova Scotia Dulce", it is a good source of dietary requirements, a handful will provide more than 100% of the daily amount of Vitamin B6, 66% of Vitamin B12, a day’s supply of iron and fluoride, and it is relatively low in sodium and high in potassium.
Fresh dulse can be eaten directly off the rocks before sun-drying. Sun-dried dulse is eaten as is or is ground to flakes or a powder. In Iceland the tradition is to eat it with butter. It can also be pan fried quickly into chips, baked in the oven covered with cheese, with salsa, or simply microwaved briefly. It can also be used in soups, chowders, sandwiches and salads, or added to bread/pizza dough. Finely diced, it can also be used as a flavour enhancer in meat dishes, such as chili, in place of monosodium glutamate.
Grand Manan IS the dulse capital of the world. This edible seaweed, known locally as Dark Harbour Dulse, is hand picked at low tide on the Western side of the Island, landed at Dark Harbour, sun dried and packaged for export as a condiment and seasoning. Some dulse is also picked on the eastern side of the Island. Visitors can see the drying operations at various locations around the Island. Try it the way most Islanders prefer it, as a snack food, fresh dried and eaten with the fingers. Nori, a thin seaweed used for sushi and sushimi, is now also harvested at low water and exported to Japan and other locations.
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